It’s on every gym owner’s mind – do I need to increase rates? With everything else going up, from paper towels to rubber gloves, it’s tough to say no. One gym owner decided to take the plunge. After six years in business, Chris Giumarra of Rosamond Health & Fitness in Rosamond, California, created a six-week, three-phase strategy for raising gym fees.
Phase One: Social media plan of attack for raising gym fees
Giumarra chose to increase membership charges by $5 per month for both his “heroes” category and regular gym members. It would be his first rate hike since starting the gym. The new rates would be $24.95 and $29.95 respectively. He marketed solely through Facebook and Instagram, spending about $400 on boosting posts, which ran for the last weeks in January.
Key promotional points:
- Rates rise February 1.
- Current member rates are locked in unless they cancel their contract.
- Now is the time to join — before fees go up.
What happened after he announced a gym membership rate increase?
The deadline created a sense of urgency and excitement among both members and nonmembers. Parents signed up kids to take advantage of the lower rates, and individuals who were “on the fence” jumped off — and into his fitness center. In all, he signed up 41 new members in the last two weeks of January.
Phase Two: First week of rate increase
Giumarra prepared a follow-up campaign for the week of Feb. 1 – Feb. 7 to encourage additional new members. Instead of social media, he used group text messages to reach current and prospective members.
The new member pitch went like this:
- Join Rosamond Feb. 1 — Feb. 7 and pay only $10.
- Annual fee of $25 is waived until 2023.
- New $29.95 billing rate starts March 1st.
The gym logged 60 new memberships within six days! Spoiler alert – Giumarra believes many of these clients might be short-term members. Yet, for the few who do stay on as long-term customers, the payback is more than worth the effort.
Phase Three: Limited-time discount promotion
On the 8th of February, the last stage of his promotion kicked in. Simple and direct, the $25 annual membership fee was waived for all new members through the end of February. The extra push resulted in 103 new members in February. Through it all, he monitored his Google account, and as usage of it increased, he encouraged new and current members to write reviews, further shoring up his social media push.
Selling employees on a rate hike
Giumarra leveraged employee support throughout his gym by leading a strong campaign and involving employees at every level. He reached out to employees throughout the planning stages and kept them up-to-date on any changes through video texts. From the front desk to the class instructors, everyone knew why the rates were increasing and how they would be promoted. He even prepared “cheat sheets” for front-desk staffers stumped by member questions. Giumarra hustles hard to run the best gym possible. By planning strategically, his new rate roll-out hit few road bumps. And — unintentionally — generated loyalty from current members who enjoyed the rate freeze and felt well taken care of in the transition to higher fees.
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